ARC Presents: Benjamin Lowy
Some of the best photographers and videographers in the world walk through our doors every day. ARC Presents is our series highlighting their work on our blog.
Since his start in the Iraq War in 2003, photojournalist Benjamin Lowy has covered many of the hotbeds of instability over the last decade: Afghanistan, Darfur, Chad, Haiti, the Gulf of Mexico.
His photographs have a quiet, removed quality, taking in the raw chaos from a middle distance. It’s as though Lowy is trying to understand the incomprehensible through the act of cold observation. He has an eye for the absurd – a dress shirt hangs on a coathanger on the last standing wall of a collapsed house – which reads as a existential commentary on the human condition. He acknowledges the pure beauty of destruction – a man with a stick in his hand stands ambiguously among the smoldering pink smoke of a ruined Haitian city literally on fire; a fireball explodes from innumerable sacks of heroin burning in a desolate field in Afghanistan. He often lets the horizon tip steeply, allowing the complex array of subjects to dictate the frame, unsettling the viewer with the imbalance.
The storytelling ambiguity is what I find appealing in his work. Instead of telling the viewer something overtly, he offers up a scenario and let’s them draw their own conclusions.